Preventative Care . . . or Else

One of the most illuminating moments of the 2008 presidential race came this past Sunday. Speaking to an audience in Iowa, John Edwards said that under his proposed universal health care plan, Americans would be required to go to the doctor regularly for preventative exams:

It requires that everybody get preventive care. If you are going to be in the system, you can’t choose not to go to the doctor for twenty years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK.

This raises some obvious practical questions: What’s the penalty for choosing not to go to the doctor? Will the government keep records of people’s doctor visits? Are you also required to comply with doctor’s advice about diet and exercise? But it also offers some political and philosophical insight into the long, bitter argument over health care.

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Preventative Care . . . or Else

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